Karl Lagerfeld's Life in Photos

Following his death at the age of 85, here's a look back at the industry titan's 65-year career in fashion

01 of 38


Lagerfeld Wins Fashion Competition

Lagerfeld got his start in the fashion industry after winning the coats category in a Paris design competition sponsored by the International Wool Secretariat in December 1954. He was only 21. This launched his career, and shortly after he was hired as assistant to French designer Pierre Balmain, where he worked for three-and-a-half years before he was asked to become art director at the house of French couturier, Jean Patou.

02 of 38


Karl Lagerfeld chez Jean Patou
KEYSTONE-FRANCE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty

Lagerfeld remained at Patou's fashion house for five years. "I was tired of being an assistant; I wasn't born to be an assistant," Lagerfeld said at the time of moving from Balmain to Patou. "If you are an assistant endlessly there is no hope."

03 of 38


Gerard Decaux/REX/Shutterstock

Lagerfeld seen here working for Chloé, where he started designing in 1964.

04 of 38


Lagerfeld & Givenchy Advance, Paris, France - 23 Oct 1978

Lagerfeld was held in high regard at many high-fashion houses. While he remained at Chloé through the '70s, he is seen here consulting backstage at the Givenchy spring 1979 ready-to-wear show in Paris.

05 of 38


Fashion Designer Karl Lagerfeld
Pierre Vauthey/Sygma/Getty

Lagerfeld seen fitting one of his designs on top model Ines de la Fressange at Chloé's Paris studio.

06 of 38



In 1983, Lagerfeld took over as design director of Chanel, where he introduced the iconic double CC's on everything from biker jackets to boots to jewelry. Here Lagerfeld is seen with models including Jerry Hall (sitting down) on July 23, 1984, at the end of Chanel's autumn-winter 1984/1985 Haute Couture show in Paris.

07 of 38



Lagerfeld hits the runway with his '90s-Chanel muse, Ines de la Fressange, at the fall/winter 1987 ready-to-wear collection show in Paris.

08 of 38


"7th On Sale" To Benefit AIDS Research - November 29, 1990

Lagerfeld quickly became known as the Kaiser of the fashion industry, see here with Vogue editor and close friend Anna Wintour at the Seventh On Sale AIDS Benefit in N.Y.C.

09 of 38


Remy De La Mauviniere/AP/REX/Shutterstock

Lagerfeld, seen holding his trademark fan, closes the fall/winter 1990-91 Chanel show in Paris alongside one of his many '90s supermodel muses, Linda Evangelista, who was dressed in bridal couture. Lagerfeld was known for closing his shows with a wedding look.

10 of 38


Claudia Schiffer;Karl Lagerfeld;Karl Lagerfeld [Misc.]

Lagerfeld prepping one of his many muses, model Claudia Schiffer, for the runway by wrapping her with Chanel's trademark chains during the Spring show.

11 of 38



Cindy Crawford, Lagerfeld and Helena Christensen walk the runway during the Chanel spring/summer 1993-1994 Haute Couture show in Paris.

12 of 38


Fendi Italian luxury fashion house

While still holding the reins at Cholé and Chanel, Lagerfeld also held court at Italian label Fendi, where he worked with Silvia Fendi from as early as 1965. Here Lagerfeld is surrounded by the five Fendi sisters (from left to right: Carla and Alda, in the second row Franca, Anna and Paola), heads of the luxury fashion house.

13 of 38


Karl Lagerfeld entouré de top models lors du défilé Chloe
Pool ARNAL/PICOT/Gamma-Rapho/Getty

Lagerfeld joined by his troupe of '90s supermodels including Karen Mulder, Carla Bruni, Nadja Auermann, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer and Helena Christensen at a fashion event in Paris.

14 of 38


Fashion Ready To Wear Spring-Summer People On October 1st, 1995

Lagerfeld backstage at Chanel's spring/summer ready-to-wear show with top models Kate Moss and Linda Evangelista.

15 of 38


Pierre Vauthey/Sygma/Getty

Lagerfeld takes his final walk at Chloé's fall/winter 1995 show.

16 of 38


Naomi Campbell

Largerfeld and model muse Naomi Campbell attend the wedding of Vogue photographer Miles Aldridge and model Kirsten McMenamy in London.

17 of 38


Designer Karl Lagerfeld accompanied by the bride w

Lagerfeld accompanied by his model bride at Chanel's fall/winter haute couture show in Paris.

18 of 38


Designer Karl Lagerfeld walks with forme

Model Linda Evangelista taking on the role of bride once again alongside Lagerfeld at Chanel's fall/winter 2003-2004 show in Paris.

19 of 38


Chanel Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2004

Lagerfeld greets the audience with Sudanese model Alek Wek at the end of Chanel's Haute Couture spring/summer 2004 show.

20 of 38


German designer Karl Lagerfeld (C) of Fr

Lagerfeld leads the Chanel runway crew during the spring/summer 2005 show in downtown Tokyo, which celebrated the launch of Chanel opening its biggest boutique in the world on the main street of the Ginza shopping district.

21 of 38


Bambi Awards

Lagerfeld accepting his fashion award for creativity at the 57th annual Bambi Awards in Munich, Germany.

22 of 38


Exhibition Opening With Karl Lagerfeld

When he wasn't busy designing, Lagerfeld also pursued photography, often shooting his own modeling campaigns for his eponymous label, Karl Lagerfeld. Here the designer poses by his photos during the opening of the "One Man Show" photography collection in Berlin. The exhibition featured portraits of American model Brad Kroenig from the past five years, all shot by Lagerfeld.

23 of 38


German designer Karl Lagerfeld acknowled

The designer takes the catwalk solo at the end of his autumn/winter 2009 ready-to-wear collection show in Paris.

24 of 38


The Little Black Jacket Exhibition Opening Reception

Actress, model and Chanel muse Vanessa Paradis, Lagerfeld and Sarah Jessica Parker at "The Little Black Jacket" Exhibition opening reception in Tokyo.

25 of 38


2012 amfAR's Cinema Against AIDS - Dinner

Diane Kruger and Lagerfeld attend the 2012 amfAR Cinema Against AIDS gala during the 65th Annual Cannes Film Festival in France.

26 of 38


Chanel: Front Row - Paris Fashion Week Haute-Couture F/W 2013-2014

Actress and Chanel muse Kristen Stewart joins Lagerfeld after Chanel's Haute Couture fall/winter 2013-2014 show in Paris.

27 of 38



Lagerfeld joins his models at the end of the Chanel Haute Couture fall-winter 2013/2014 show in Paris.

28 of 38



Lagerfeld is joined by his godson Hudson Kroenig and model Cara Delevingne, dressed as a bride, during the Chanel Haute Couture spring-summer 2014 collection show in Paris.

29 of 38


Chanel : Front Row - Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2014-2015

Lagerfeld was known for transforming his shows with over-the top themes. Here the designer is seen at Chanel's supermarket, created for the label's fall/winter 2014-2015 Paris Fashion Week show.

30 of 38


Chanel : Runway - Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2015
Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho/WireImage

Later that year, Lagerfeld, alongside model Gisele Bündchen, led a protest on the runway during the spring/summer 2015 show in Paris.

31 of 38


Karl Lagerfeld presents Photo Calender featuring cat Choupette
Jens Kalaene/Picture Alliance/Getty

Lagerfeld seen standing next to a drawing of his beloved Birman cat Choupette at a photo call for his calendar, 'Corsa Karl and Choupette' in Berlin. For the calendar, Lagerfeld took photos of his feline, whom he has called "the most famous cat in the world."

32 of 38


Chanel : Runway - Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2015/2016

Lagerfeld joins his "bride" Kendall Jenner on the runway at Chanel's fall/winter Haute Couture show in Paris.

33 of 38


Chanel Metiers d'Art 2015/16 Fashion Show - Runway

Lagerfeld walks the runway during the Chanel Metiers d'Art 2015/16 Fashion Show in Rome.

34 of 38


Chanel : Runway - Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture Spring Summer 2017

Model Lily-Rose Depp and Lagerfeld take a final walk in front of Lily-Rose's mother Vanessa Paradis, at the end of the Chanel spring/summer 2017 show in Paris.

35 of 38


Chanel : Front Row - Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018

Katy Perry, Lagerfeld, Cara Delevingne and Claudia Schiffer pose together after the Chanel fall/winter 2017-2018 show in Paris.

36 of 38


Screen Shot 2019-02-04 at 4.41.46 PM
Choupette Lagerfeld/Instagram

Lagerfeld interacts with his beloved cat Choupette during a business meeting late last year.

37 of 38


Chanel : Runway - Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2019

Lagerfeld walks the runway in Paris during the Chanel show, which was transformed into an island beach, as part of the Paris Fashion Week spring/summer 2019 show in October.

38 of 38


Chanel Metiers D'Art 2018/19 Show - Runway

Marking his final fashion show walk, Lagerfeld takes the Chanel runway for a final bow at the Metiers D'Art 2018/19 Show at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in December in New York City.

Related Articles